I write this Wednesday morning as the results of the 2022 Midterm Elections for Congress remain undecided.
The U.S. Senate is tied at 48-48—the winning political party will need 51 senators to control the legislative agenda in that chamber. Currently the upper chamber membership is tied at 50-50 and Vice President Kamala Harris can cast the tie breaking vote for the Democrats.
In the House, the total vote tabulation at the moment is Democrats 178, Republicans 199. The majority party requires 218 representatives to pass its measures. The Democrats currently hold a slim 220-212 majority.
Regardless of which party ultimately captures either chamber, beware the actions of Congress during the Lame Duck Session that begins next Monday.
The danger coming between November 14 and when the new Congress convenes at noon January 3, is the unbridled incentive to pass controversial legislation Congress was reluctant to pass for fear of voter rejection.
Those defeated delegates in both the House and Senate now have no such compunction to withhold a vote that otherwise would evoke blowback from their constituents.
SCRAP THIS LAME DUCK
This long-term practice should end. It risks defying the message that voters sent on election day. Delegates have two months between the next week and when the new Congress begins in January to act malevolently.
America voters cast ballots and there should be no legislative action at all between election day and the start of a new Congress.
We dare not risk the likelihood that disgruntled losing Senators and Representatives will pass legislation that voters made clear they did not want.
It’s time to ground this lame duck permanently.